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 5th Edition Anauroch: desert is back or not?
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moonbeast
Learned Scribe

USA
265 Posts

Posted - 03 Mar 2017 :  20:47:11  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I wanted some clarification about the 5th Edition Anauroch region. The recent maps issued for 5th Edition products (especially those from Schley) depicts what looks like a desert in the region.

But then again, the last word from the 4th Edition events indicate that the Anauroch desert was no more? Was it turned into some giant habitable green and pleasant land? A land of milk and honey? Where the fairies roam and the jackalopes play?

And then by 5th Edition (less than 2 decades time after the era of late 4th Edition)…. am I to assume the Great Desert just magically re-appeared? How?

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2576 Posts

Posted - 03 Mar 2017 :  21:10:30  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The area was verdant during the era before the fall of Netheril, and was turned into a desert by the Phaerimm. When Thultanthar returned and the Phaerimm were driven away, the shadovar turned it back to its previous verdant state over about 100 years. In the current time, RAS describes it becoming a desert again (and Mielikki--a goddess of forests--being pleased with that for whatever effin' reason), the SCAG does that too. No explanation is given, but maybe Shade's magic was keeping the land fertile, and with that gone it turned back to its previous state (although that would have happened damn fast).

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
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Posted - 04 Mar 2017 :  01:06:13  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A LOT of why the Anauroch was becoming fertile had to do with the Shades melting the High Ice. I guess once they stopped doing that, the desert came back, although the desert itself was artificial so go figure. One might assume the Phaerimm had already drained too much 'lifeforce' from the land itself, and now that IS the 'natural state' of things.

Not sure about Mielikki - I know what the Shades were doing caused immeasurable damage (extreme weather phenomena - Daggerford was under water at one point) with their 'weather modification program', so maybe she was just ticked-off about what was happening everywhere else.

Now, why would Ao 'reset' Anauroch to an unnatural state, other than 'it was like that in 1e'? Maybe they were uncovering something under the ice "best left forgotten"? Was Ulutiu(sp?) a primordial? Personally I think he was Dire penguin, but whatever. Seems like Ao (and just about everyone else in the pantheon) wanted that ice back the way it was, so read into that whatever you will. The 'buried primordial' thing doesn't really work beause the ice wasn't there when Netheirl was around, so maybe a couple million frozen Sarrukh? (hmmmm... that doesn't really work either... how the heck did the Uber-magical Netherese sit right on top of all those Sarrukh liches and never find out they were there?) Uh-DOH!

So it would have to be something thats only been there since Netheril fell... Karsus? (another piece of him, at any rate) Mystryl's phyiscal form? Telemont's Great Aunt Tootie? Ao's dirty laundry?

Its a mystery!

EDIT:
Personally, they SHOULD get rid of the desert - its stupid. Maybe put a new moor in there. Such a huge one would be redundant with the High Moor, though. Of course, they could have - and SHOULD HAVE - gotten rid of the High Moor in 4e/5e, and then the Anauroch could be our new version of that (semi-impassable, 'monastery' territory filled with icky badness). The desert is just SO boring... and inappropriate.

Of course, the 5e maps are done, and they didn't fix a thing - just reset it to 1e, including all the 'broken bits'. I guess we can all go back to our original complaints from the 90's now (we get to reboot the complaints? LOL!)

So yeah, they need to get right on that. Put the High Moor where Anauroch was, and put the 'High Elven kingdom' of Miyeritar where the High Moor was (and give that kingdom a bit of a pre-fall Aryvandaar vibe, with different factions having different stances about this 'new world', humans, isolationism, etc). So basically, we get a somewhat 'darker' version of Evermeet where Evermeet would actually be useful.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 04 Mar 2017 01:54:54
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13273 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2017 :  15:43:29  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm just now looking at the map from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and I note that not only does the desert look 'back', and in full-swing, it appears to have GROWN. There is almost no Goblin Marches and Stonelands anymore. I hope they correct that moving forward (I'd prefer a GREATLY reduced desert - see above).

On the other hand, they've gotten rid of the misleading 'sand terrain' look and the entirety of the Anauroch is differentiated by several different terrain types, include a 'badlands' area that takes up most of the center. At least that's a step in the right direction (a burning hot desert is just all wrong for that latitude, IMHO).

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
381 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2017 :  16:35:56  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like to think that the Shades had only begun to restore Anauroch and that other than certain patches had not fully restored the desert in their 100 years back or so, so when things went back to "normal" it wasn't quite as large a leap. I recognize magic can do crazy things, but the idea that they restored the entire desert in 100 years seemed far fetched to me even for the Shades. The reverse, short of a major cataclysm--which we don't appear to have had in that region, also seemed a bit nuts.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13273 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2017 :  16:50:03  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, shadow-magic is closely related to illusions - maybe they cast large illusions in a lot of areas to make folks think they were doing better than they were.

After all, a major part of the Return of the Archwizards series was that they were STOPPED in their efforts to make major changes to the environment (and then the 4e team seems to have forgotten about that, and just figured the Shades had 'finished' their project). Thus, there is a RW reason why I would go with the 'a lot of illusions' thing as well.

And if anyone doesn't think the Shades would bother with something 'as trivial' as that, I'd refer them to one of the most pivotal facts we know about Netherese personalities - Hubris (pride). They wouldn't want anyone to think they weren't successful in any of their endeavors, plus, being "the new kid on the block" (as of 3e), they'd want to prove themselves (powerful), and what better way than eliminating a desert quickly, that everyone else just accepted for over a millennia?

Trickery, I tell you!

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 05 Mar 2017 16:50:41
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Ari
Seeker

39 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2017 :  01:20:16  Show Profile Send Ari a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What's real annoying with having a stereotypical Ottoman Arabia/North African bit in the middle of the FROZEN North is that cold deserts extremely exist. Like the famous Gobi over in China and Mongolia. It could even be a neat reversal of the fantasyland stereotypes, but newp.

Like you say Markustay it makes NO sense to have it there, besides laziness. Like how apparently it no longer matters that there was a giant Sphere of Annihilation devouring the planet over in Chessenta.

The obvious question is "what would be there instead?", which is pretty easy to answer just assuming you keep the Netherese angle.

• A land of chimeric monsters and outlandish vegetation that feeds on the power and experiments of the High Netheril archwizards.
• A land of elemental chaos where the terrain and even time changes constantly.
• A land of petty kingdoms built from the hollowed-out remains of flying enclaves and cities.
• A land of kind and friendly undead who guard horrors from the years before from tampering.
• A land where there is nothing. You go into it from one point and exit at the opposite point via the Plane of Shadow.
• A stronghold of the maulagrym, full of shapeshifters and other changing people.
• A land that is alive and conscious, actively attacking and repelling any outside life.
• A glassy wasteland that holds a penal colony unearthing Netheril relics.

And so on, and on.
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
557 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2017 :  04:47:12  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not really up on my Netheril lore, but wasn't the whole point of the Anauroch is that powerful magic affected the area? That's why there's a desert in the north, that's why it's hot. Of course it shouldn't be there naturally, but it's magic! I may be in the minority, but I LIKE that there's a hot desert in the middle of the cold north of Faerun. Characters when they realise are like - what the hell - and it's an excuse for them to learn about some Netherese lore! And it sets up the phaerimm as potentially extremely powerful antagonists not be messed with... I think it's a great story point, not a setting flaw.

As far as its return post the fall of Shade, I imagine the situation thusly: Thultanthar returns, finds the phaerimm magic still going strong and making the area they plan to use infertile. They try and fix this by going over the top of the underlying phaerimm drain, trying to use their own magic and natural methods to make the land fertile - but never dealing with the underlying issue. So it's a constant battle for them, trying to keep the land fertile while the phaerimm drain constantly threatens to make it infertile (though the drain is no doubt less powerful than it was in the true days of Netheril). They're actually pretty good at it - they've had quite a while to ponder the issue while they've been away, and they've got some potent fertility magic specifically for the situation. However, when Thultanthar drops, there's suddenly no more ongoing effort to fight the phaerimm drain, and it wins back out again. Even in only a few short years, all the effort the people of Shade went to to make the land fertile is totally overcome.

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Ari
Seeker

39 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2017 :  15:34:31  Show Profile Send Ari a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The problem isn't just that there's a hot desert too far past the equator in a very cold part of the world, it's that the desert is just more standard fantasy desert whose uniqueness is literally buried. It has Bedouin, camels, oases, all the familiar trappings on top and then-aha!-you find that it's all because of a war with magic-eating monsters that made magic flying cities fall.

I'm saying it's too normal, is all. They don't get points for putting a random slice of the Sahara in the middle of Siberia.

Besides which, the weird conflating of the phaerimm eating magic with them destroying life. Then the Shades return and use magic from the Plane of Where Undead Draw Strength to make the Anauroch thrive again. Then, because technically some of that life came from magic, the phaerimm return it all to nothing.

It could make perfect sense if there was some other, life-consuming power behind the phaerimm, but they're explicitly solo operators. Somehow this is all them. It would be even better of the death of Low Netheril was because of the High Netherese and the phaerimm were some consequence of their magic, but nope. They eat magic and life because the place has to be a desert later.

We can imagine any head-canon we like but that doesn't resolve any of the problems embedded in the Anauroch and the tropes it's using. It's trying to be a twofer region and it just doesn't jibe with itself.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 06 Mar 2017 :  16:11:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Anauroch Desert has nothing to do with the phaerimm eating magic. It's a desert because their magic caused desert-like conditions -- specifically, the absence of water and the inability of plants to grow.

The lifedrain spell is described in the Ruins of Myth Drannor. From pages 57-8 of the Myth Drannor Campaign Guide:

quote:
Use of this mighty spell is thought to have created much of the lifelessness at the heart of the vast desert of Anauroch! This spell affects only water in geographical form (lakes, rivers, oceans), or in meteorological form (rain, snow). It does not affect water contained in living things.

A lifedrain spell destroys water within its area of effect - and prevents water from existing in the area of effect: water cannot fall into, form within, condense within, or flow into the spherical area of effect of this spell.

Living creatures find conditions within the area of effect to be very, very dry - uncomfortably so; for each turn that one spends performing any sort of activity except simple rest, that creature loses 1 hp due to dehydration. (Tales are told of Phaerimm drying off wet slaves and items by conveying them from a bath through a lifedrain sphere.) Plants cannot grow within a lifedrain field - and desert-like conditions soon occur.

A lifedrain cannot be affected by dispel magic or water magics: only a limited wish or more powerful spell can destroy it.


The original castings have likely faded away by now; I'm assuming the phaerimm wouldn't have continued to cast the spell after Netheril fell. But considering their strength as casters, the level of the spell (8th), and its duration (1 year per caster level), that means that in any one area of Anauroch, desert conditions would have persisted for no less than 15 years.

Since they cast this spell enough times to pretty much affect all of the area, it would mean that by the time the magic finally ended, there would have been no water and parched soil for well over a decade or more. Once you get conditions like that dominating a region, it's hard to bounce back from it. You'd need large-scale irrigation or altering the weather like the Shades tried to counter those effects.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13273 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2017 :  18:44:30  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ari

What's real annoying with having a stereotypical Ottoman Arabia/North African bit in the middle of the FROZEN North is that cold deserts extremely exist. Like the famous Gobi over in China and Mongolia. It could even be a neat reversal of the fantasyland stereotypes, but newp.

Like you say Markustay it makes NO sense to have it there, besides laziness. Like how apparently it no longer matters that there was a giant Sphere of Annihilation devouring the planet over in Chessenta.

The obvious question is "what would be there instead?", which is pretty easy to answer just assuming you keep the Netherese angle.

• A land of chimeric monsters and outlandish vegetation that feeds on the power and experiments of the High Netheril archwizards.
• A land of elemental chaos where the terrain and even time changes constantly.
• A land of petty kingdoms built from the hollowed-out remains of flying enclaves and cities.
• A land of kind and friendly undead who guard horrors from the years before from tampering.
• A land where there is nothing. You go into it from one point and exit at the opposite point via the Plane of Shadow.
• A stronghold of the maulagrym, full of shapeshifters and other changing people.
• A land that is alive and conscious, actively attacking and repelling any outside life.
• A glassy wasteland that holds a penal colony unearthing Netheril relics.

And so on, and on.

RIGHT.

Like I said, something more akin to what the 'High Moor' has always been (but sadly, received so little attention all these years), and then take the High moor and turn it into something else (since what was there wasn't "working for the setting"). We had a perfectly good novel + lore on how it was changing, and like everything else, it just got completely ignored. They changed things that should NOT have been changed, and DIDN'T change things that should have been changed.

Parts of the Anauroch cold possibly remain 'cold desert' (Gobi) - preferably, all that stuff where the ice is/was, and then the rest can just be a mixed bag of 'badlands' - rough broken terrain, swamps and bogs, monster-infested hills, patches of 'wild magic' ('Plaguelands'), patches of 'elemental chaos', etc, etc = it could be like an FR version of Eberron's 'Mournlands', but even more interesting and diverse). Even throw in some 'the geography can change in an instant', with the earth heaving up, or flash-floods, etc. It could be pretty awesome, and oh-so-useful for placing any type of adventure (because you could have 'pockets' of any type of climate).

As I said earlier, take the whole Rhymanthiin, the City of Hope stuff and run with it. Run WILD with it (literally). Give us an old-school (Crown wars era) Elven Kingdom, with various factions and all sort of Cloak & Dagger stuff going on, and a definite 'anti-human' sentiment running high amongst many (similar to what Myth Drannor used to be like). We have something along those lines in a cuple of forest in the south... BUT NO-ONE USES THE DAMN SOUTH (yes, i know YOU do... but you are int he minority, so sit down ). They are FOCUSING on 'The North' in 5e, so lets take that and run with it - lets extend 'The North' all the way south to Baldur's Gate, and all the way east to the Tunlands and Anauroch (and the Goblin Marches). Lets get some of that goodness we had down south (ancient, creepy Elven kingdoms) and put it up north, where we can 'play with it'.

In fact, looking at the map that came with Storm King's Thunder, I would say that region (in its entirety) should be THE focus for FR stuff moving forward, so not just 'The North' (but thats what most of that map is, and the 'border areas' of it). We actually finally have a chance to get some of the barely-covered areas 'get some love' in 5e. We'll never* see them do 'the whole world' again - thats counter-productive, so lets really take what we ARE getting and make it amazing.


*Maybe, maybe not. The DM's Guild could go a long way in fleshing-out those other regions, but they'd have to do something better with it than the mess it is in now. Or, if FR REALLY takes off, maybe we can get some novel-coverage, and 'maybe', eventually, a sourcebook or three. But thats a longshot.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 06 Mar 2017 18:50:10
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moonbeast
Learned Scribe

USA
265 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2017 :  12:09:38  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

The Anauroch Desert has nothing to do with the phaerimm eating magic. It's a desert because their magic caused desert-like conditions -- specifically, the absence of water and the inability of plants to grow.



Hmm, so as DM, I suppose I could "ad hoc" it so that the 5th Edition Anauroch Desert is actually a "cooler desert", an arid dryland area like the Northern Mongolia deserts. It doesn't make too much sense for it to be Death Valley burning hot since its just right south of a giant Glacier region.

I'd say it gets somewhat warm in the daytime (since there is little vegetation to absorb the naked sun's rays), but it becomes quite cooler at night (like many high desert regions do).

Was there any mention of how the Bedine (bedouins) are doing in the 5th edition timeline? I don't recall them mentioned in SCAG, but I might have just missed reading the info on them.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13273 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2017 :  17:09:36  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In canon, only the lower (southern) desert was supposed to be 'hot', but even that was a stretch.

With the Stonelands and Goblin Marches mostly 'gone' on the 5e (SKT) map, it might be best to just roll those regions into the 'Anauroch Wastes' - a "no-mans land"/'Forbidden Zone' kind of region thats been pretty-much left alone since the Shades were defeated (which doesn't mean there aren't still groups of them lurking about, licking their wounds and biding their time).

And on a somewhat related subject - I hated that the blew-up Halruaa, but now I hate it that they just brought it back, whole-cloth. It doesn't make any sense. If I were them, I'd leave the 'blasted' aspect of the terrain itself, and give THEM the 'flying cities' thing (not too many, and most of them actually very small, like village-size). They had the flying ships already - its a perfect fit.

EDIT:
And while I am on the subject, they should have kept Chult separated from the mainland, another of the 4e decisions I was on board with. Chult works better as a 'Isle of mystery' than a normal jungle region (because its WAY too small for that, an we already have jungle regions elsewhere now).

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 07 Mar 2017 17:12:13
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Cyrinishad
Learned Scribe

202 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2017 :  17:34:59  Show Profile Send Cyrinishad a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Once again I find myself agreeing with Markustay's comments...

One of my major 3e campaigns was centered in Halruua, and I saw the "boom" of Halruua as a logical (yet unfortunate) extension of the events of that campaign... In my Realms I have done something similar to what you suggested, in that there is now a single floating city above where the capital was located. The rest remains wiped out...

...and yes, Chult is so much better as a "Land of the Lost" style island. So, I kept it that way...

To know, is to know that you know nothing.
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
557 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  11:42:52  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Been thinking about it being HOT in the Anauroch. My Realmslore is still quite poor on this area, but throwing a couple of thoughts out there after giving the 3e Anauroch module and the 2e Anauroch sourcebook a very quick flick-through...

So the Anauroch as we know it is split into four areas: The High Ice (cold), the Plain of Standing Stones (windy), the Frozen Sea (sandy but not necessarily hot), and the Sword (hot and sandy). As far as I can tell, only the Sword is HOT - the other areas of the desert don't seem to be explicitly described as such.

The Sword of the Anauroch (the hot southern bit) seems to exist between about 40degN and 45degN, approximately, based on the FR Interactive Atlas. This is about 10-15degN of the hot "real world" deserts, if we're assuming similar climate systems (a fraught hypothesis admittedly). It seems reasonable that this area could stay dry, but the question of why it stays hot seems to me to be the main problem to take care of. It still has the hot days, cold nights of real-world hot deserts, but the question is - why? And I refuse to accept shaking fists and exclaiming "because of that damned WotC" as an answer!

Ideas...
1. A curse of Amaunator / At'ar the Merciless damning the main area that god used to operate in to a merciless sun
2. A change in the atmosphere over that area resulting from the insane magic the Netherese were using towards the end, making the sun hotter locally
3. Some sort of residual phaerimm magic causing the sun to be hotter, operating in addition to the lifedrain magic in the southern Anauroch

Anyone got something better? Idea #1 is my best shot thus far after a couple of wines...

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Edited by - KanzenAU on 16 Mar 2017 11:44:00
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5139 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  12:22:56  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

In canon, only the lower (southern) desert was supposed to be 'hot', but even that was a stretch.

With the Stonelands and Goblin Marches mostly 'gone' on the 5e (SKT) map, it might be best to just roll those regions into the 'Anauroch Wastes' - a "no-mans land"/'Forbidden Zone' kind of region thats been pretty-much left alone since the Shades were defeated (which doesn't mean there aren't still groups of them lurking about, licking their wounds and biding their time).

And on a somewhat related subject - I hated that the blew-up Halruaa, but now I hate it that they just brought it back, whole-cloth. It doesn't make any sense. If I were them, I'd leave the 'blasted' aspect of the terrain itself, and give THEM the 'flying cities' thing (not too many, and most of them actually very small, like village-size). They had the flying ships already - its a perfect fit.

EDIT:
And while I am on the subject, they should have kept Chult separated from the mainland, another of the 4e decisions I was on board with. Chult works better as a 'Isle of mystery' than a normal jungle region (because its WAY too small for that, an we already have jungle regions elsewhere now).



I'm going to tacitly agree with that a little bit, and also state that one of the things I've been writing up has been along the lines that the portions of Tashalar, Thindol and Samarach that disappeared "beneath the waves" did not disappear beneath the waves. They did instead transfer to Abeir. So the entire capital city of Samarach and some surrounding territory, half of Thindol, and the volcanic capital city of Tashluta and a lot of its surrounding territory went to Abeir.

What happened when they got there? They appeared in the middle of something like a continent. They found themselves surrounded by enemies, and their lands were overrun. Luckily for them, in the years leading up to the spellplague all 3 had become new Thayan trade enclave sites and they had portals that remained intact despite the transfer to Balduran Bay Enclave (aka Fort Flame's Thayan trade enclave). So, these cities which had roughly 106,000 (Samargol), Lundeth (24,000), and Tashluta (72,000) and including probably doubling said population by including surrounding populations.... and then saying that only maybe 25% got through the portals... makes it about 100,000 (say 77% Tashalan, 15% Chultan, 5% Calishite, 2% Shaaran, 1% Halruaan) getting to safety in Balduran Bay enclave, with no home, just what they had on their backs, and red wizards offering a helping hand IF THEY'LL SERVE THEM.

Note, for Thindol, this leaves behind a large amount of the population that would have transferred (the whole country has a million people, and like half of it apparently transferred), but only a small portion is in/near Lundeth. So, while in Abeir, there may have been a portion of the population that did SOMETHING else that I haven't defined.

What does this get us? Well, when those regions return from Abeir, they are the "Fallen Kingdoms" or "embattled kingdoms" of Samarach, Thindol, and Tashluta. They suddenly reappear, but filled with creatures that are the enemies of the sections that DIDN'T transfer to Abeir. You could even throw in some primordials that were in Abeir that have now transferred to Toril (Tashluta fits this well, since its main city was in the caldera of a volcano). So, now these kingdoms can be remade. Samarach for instance has been without the Nimbral Lords for 100 years... and they were already a people of questionable morals. Then there's the thing where the whole snake infested Mhair jungles also went to Abeir. Do some of these areas come back with an even denser reptilian base.


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Gyor
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  22:11:54  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It seems simply to me, part of the way the desert was dried out by the magic, was that the magic increased the heat, increasing evaporation levels, so it's kind of like Neverwinter, a place that magic keeps unnaturally warm or hot.
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Mapolq
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Brazil
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Posted - 18 Mar 2017 :  19:03:30  Show Profile Send Mapolq a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not actually seeing the huge discrepancies here. Sure, the Anauroch might not fit the best science in rainfall and wind patterns, but it doesn't stretch believability that much.

As far as I'm aware, Anauroch was always described as a pretty cold place. The Gobi desert is also extremely cold during winter nights, but can get VERY hot during summer days (not as much as the Sahara, granted). I haven't looked THAT hard, but I didn't find lore directly contradicting that as a possibility for Anauroch.

Also, wearing bulky but loose clothing and camels for transportation is not exclusive to arabic peoples. And the existence of oases have little to do with latitude. Admitedly calling the local nomads "Bedine" was rather typical cheese.

More on topic, though, I'm also bothered with how fast the Anauroch returned to the original state. I'm not a fan of explaining that with very complex things like continent-wide illusion magic as proposed (though it's inventive). On the face of it, it came back so quickly because WotC wanted to undo 4e stuff, to which I'm largely very happy with (being a staunch 4e critic) but I would have done it a bit differently. Netherese weather engineering "should" have created large enough lakes, like the Shadow Sea and the Nether Sea, that it would moderate temperature and humidity somewhat in their vicinity. I would make the new Anauroch more like Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan) or maybe somewhat like the US Great Basin. It wouldn't really hurt anything and would be more belieavable. But the line of thought seemed to be "let's make it how it was before", which I'm not too sad about either.

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Edited by - Mapolq on 18 Mar 2017 19:17:22
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KanzenAU
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Posted - 20 Mar 2017 :  09:16:20  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thought I might offer the RAS passage I assume Irennan was referring to (I've just started reading the Companions):
quote:
A dusty sunset filled the western sky with stripes of pink and orange hanging above the endless plain, a reminder that this region was once, not long ago, the vast magical desert known as Anauroch. The advent of Shadow, then the trauma of the great Spellplague, had transformed this region of Toril somewhat, but the stubborn nature of Anauroch’s enchantment of barrenness had not allowed all that had been to be so easily washed away. There was more rain here now, perhaps, and more vegetation, and the drifting white sands had settled to a dirtier hue of earthen brown, as renewed flora grasped and held. The dusty sunset, however common, served as a warning to the newcomers to the region, particularly the Netherese of Shade Enclave, that what once was might some day be again. To the nomadic Bedine, such sights rekindled their ancestral tales, a reminder of the life their predecessors had known before the transformation of their ancient homeland.

The implication being that there is a persistent enchantment in place. The quote Wooly posted says the lifedrain spell is only thought to have created the desert - perhaps the greater truth could be that individual castings were woven together into something more enduring?

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Edited by - KanzenAU on 20 Mar 2017 09:25:46
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 20 Mar 2017 :  11:36:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't read it that way. The nature of the enchantment was such that it lasted a long time, long enough for the end result to be self-sustaining. Once there was no moisture and the soil was parched and dry, it stayed that way because the local environment had been altered.

The fact that rain is falling and plants are growing shows the lifedrain spells are no longer in effect, but the changes wrought by their casting aren't negated simply because the spell is no longer around.

Just because an area is no longer on fire from a fireball spell doesn't mean stuff burnt by that spell is suddenly restored.

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KanzenAU
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Posted - 20 Mar 2017 :  12:16:43  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fair point. On reflection, "the stubborn nature of Anauroch's enchantment of barrenness" could be interpreted either way, and foliage does seem to come back easier than would be expected if the lifedrain was still going strong.

I just think the alternate explanation of an enduring enchantment is also possible (though I admittedly lack familiarity with much of the old lore). An enduring enchantment makes it easier to explain the quick reversal in the state of the Anauroch that occurred, assumedly taking place between Thultanthar's fall in 1487 and the SCAG around 1490/1491. Perhaps a reason foliage grew back in the 4e period is due to the enchantment weakening over time, combined with Shade's efforts (melting the High Ice etc). Or perhaps they had found a way to counter that magic during the lost century. But admittedly this theory isn't drawing on much, and isn't really following Occam's Razor.

That quote from the Companions does make it clear that the 4e Anauroch wasn't beautiful green plains (as could be thought from just looking at the 4e map), so it's possible the reversal, although rapid, wasn't quite as crazy a change as could be thought. Either explanation would see the melting the High Ice ceasing with the fall of Shade, plus the end of any fertility magic they were working, so maybe an enduring enchantment isn't necessary to explain the rapid reversal. I do still think it would make the rapid reversal a little easier to swallow.

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KanzenAU
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Posted - 21 Apr 2017 :  08:28:14  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Slight rez, because just came across this in the Companions which got me thinking:
quote:
“I leave you with this,” said the child who was not a child. “Take heart, for you and all the Bedine. The old ways will return to Anauroch. The Yellow Goddess, who is Amaunator, who is Lathander, will return in all her glory, and desert sands will devour Netheril. This I foresee, and the Bedine will live once more as they had for centuries before the return of the archwizards.

Now, this can be interpreted a couple of ways, and should only be interpreted through the lens that this is Cattie Brie's point of view based on the song/visions Mielikki feeds her. However, it's important to note that Amaunator has already returned, a hundred years before the Companions. However, my guess is he hasn't answered prayers to At'ar in this period - after all, At'ar is merely a nonsense made up from encountered artifacts by the Bedine after their post-Netheril arrival - At'ar never answered prayers. The "return" is referring to a return to the lands of the Bedine.

One way of taking it is saying that Amaunator will return to the Anauroch, and start answering the prayers of the Bedine to At'ar. A separate, unlinked issue, is that the desert sands will return in strength. However, I think it's possible that Amaunator's "glorious return" is also directly linked to the second part of that sentence - that the desert sands will return. Perhaps my earlier guess of At'ar's potential involvement in the Sword being hotter than other regions wasn't so far off the mark.

Stay with me.

The following is all out of Faiths and Avatars:
We know the Netherese survivors abandoned Amaunator wholeheartedly in the wake of the Fall, believing he did nothing to intervene in the collapse of their civilization. We also know that Amaunator couldn't, because the collapse of magic was in the domain of Mystryl, not Amaunator - his hands were tied. Nevertheless, he was completely abandoned by his faithful. He subsequently began a long, arduous, and painful process of dying of neglect. Theories held that he may have become bitter and become At'ar, though in truth after a millenia of dying he was exiled to the Astral Plane.

What if he had become bitter? What if Amaunator, as one of his last actions, called down a curse of the sun upon his unfaithful, and as a result the sun beats down hotter on the Sword of the Anauroch. Yes, the phaerimm had already drained it and it had become bare. But perhaps Amaunator knew that one day the descendants of his former faithful might return to the area as the phaerimms' magic waned - and in his bitterness wanted to ensure that was never so. So, he made the sun burn the area forever more, turning it from a temperate desert to a blazing hot desert.

Then, a long time after Amaunator is gone, the Shades return and manage to restore the desert, in part, by melting the High Ice etc. Amaunator returns in the Spellplague, but is too preoccupied with taking the place of Lathander and subverting all the Morninglord's church to concern himself with what is happening in the land he cursed.

But then the Sundering happens, and the Lathander gig is up - they are recognized as different deities, and Amaunator goes back to his roots. His gaze goes back to focus on where his unfaithful once stood, and finds that some returned Netherese, no less have undone his work. The Yellow God wastes no time, and reinvigorates his ancient curse, turning the land to a hot desert once more - and desert sands devour the ruins of Netheril once more.

Crazy theory? Maybe. But I still want to explain the hot desert, and that link by Cattie-Brie of the "return" of Amaunator to the desert sands and the old ways of the Bedine is just too juicy to pass up.

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Edited by - KanzenAU on 21 Apr 2017 08:35:25
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Markustay
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Posted - 21 Apr 2017 :  21:30:32  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was thinking (in the other thread) that because he thinks he is charge of 'all time', and thus his followers may have felt he was as well, that he should have foresaw the destruction of Netheril. Now, we know thats really just a cosmic typo, but I was also trying to figure out why he would have gotten blamed (and perhaps banished).

Perhaps Tyche's involvement wasn't discovered until long after, or maybe it just takes longer for gods to decide on anything (the whole 'Ent' thing - the longer lived something is, the longer it needs to think on things). For whatever reason, it seems like the gods of the Netherese were purposely split asunder themselves, a few centuries after the fall.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 22 Apr 2017 22:13:45
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sleyvas
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Posted - 22 Apr 2017 :  05:41:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
or maybe Moander's rot took a while to take effect? If the four deities that I spoke of in the other thread worked together to separate out Amaunator, but then Moander figure he'd start corrupting them too... just how long did his corruption take to grow? Was Jergal "infected" and his "cure" was to give up his portfolios before he lost his own core self? Was Tyche slowly being corrupted over centuries?

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

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Posted - 22 Apr 2017 :  22:34:10  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

What if he had become bitter? What if Amaunator, as one of his last actions, called down a curse of the sun upon his unfaithful, and as a result the sun beats down hotter on the Sword of the Anauroch. Yes, the phaerimm had already drained it and it had become bare. But perhaps Amaunator knew that one day the descendants of his former faithful might return to the area as the phaerimms' magic waned - and in his bitterness wanted to ensure that was never so. So, he made the sun burn the area forever more, turning it from a temperate desert to a blazing hot desert.
This is kind of funny, because while studying Pelor (trying to establish his connections to Aumanator in another thread), I came across something i did not realize - the reason why the Sea of Dust is still just a hot, blasted wasteland after a thousand years is because some of the 'god energy' used to cause the devastation is still leaking out of the artifact. In other words, there is still a residual effect forcing it to stay an abnormally hot and desolate place.

Pure conjecture:
Awhile back, I had a really 'out there' (pretty much zero canon to base it off of) theory that the Baklunish and Suloise were actual 'reflections' of the Imaskari and Netherese. That both cultures had tried to 'seed' other worlds with settlers and there culture. The Imaskari used Gates, but perhaps the Netherese used Spelljamming. Regrdless, the Imaskari would have gotten there first, and began a pogrom of cultural injection into the indigenous Baklunish people. Not sure if they were mostly 'native', half-and-half, mostly Imaskari, or some other percentages, but their was some mixing (just as we had that created the Mulan people of FR).

Then later, the Netherese arrive and find a people more to their liking - a magically gifted group from the south - the Suel. Not looking to control/enslave this group (at least, not to the extent the Imaskari were doing with the Baklunish), they taught them powerful magics and maybe even about Mystryl (Wee Jas? or maybe Wee Jas started out as a follower of Mystryl, and became a Chosen herself, and then a full goddess?) Eventually, the two empires bumped heads, and the Netherese - maybe for the first time - felt out-matched by Imaskari magic. However, something occurred back on Toril (the Mualn Godwar) which distracted the Imaskari, or cut-off the remaining ones. This lead to the Netheril-sponsored Suel to become more aggressive, which ended in the Invoked Devastation which destroyed both (that cataclysm - the Rain of Colorless Fire that destroyed the Suel - has a LOT in common with the Dark Disaster in Miyeritar, which is what got me started down this odd path. The Elves also had copies of the Nether scrolls, before Netheril did, and history does tend to repeat itself.)

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 22 Apr 2017 22:44:47
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